2017 fishing quotas for the Baltic Sea have been decided – those for cod are reduced

Author: BalticSea2020
Year published: 2016

On Monday 10 October, the EU agriculture and fisheries ministers handed down their decision concerning 2017 fishing quotas for the Baltic Sea. In respect of cod, the quotas have been decreased, but they are still higher than those advocated by scientific advisors.

The decision means that during 2017, the commercial cod fishing catch compared with the 2016 quotas is required to be 25% lower from eastern stocks (i.e. east of Bornholm) and 56% lowerfrom western stocks (west of Bornholm). Meanwhile, new rules have been introduced for recreational fishing setting a limit of five cod per angler per day. The result is a long way from the European Commission’s proposed cod fishing quotas, which followed the advice given by ICES* for a reduction of 39% (from the current 41,143 tonnes to 24,927 tonnes) for eastern stocks and a reduction of 88% (from the current 12,720 tonnes to 1,588 tonnes) for western stocks.

For several years, the EU has determined quotas that have been well above those recommended by the scientific community and Monday’s decision unfortunately shows that overfishing is being allowed to continue. Furthermore, the numbers of cod taken through recreational fishing have not been included in the total fishing quota, which means that the burden on stocks is increasing with no knowledge of how much cod is being taken in toto, and without any effective control of recreational or commercial fishing. Following the Commission’s proposal could speed up the recovery of cod stocks, but if fishing continues to be allowed on already depleted stocks, it will not be long before there are none left to catch.

Set catch limits for the Baltic Sea 2017 (compared to 2016):

Cod, East Sea: - 25 %
Cod, West Sea: - 56 %
Salmon, Central Sea: no change
Salmon, Gulf of Finland: - 20 %
Sprat: + 29 %
Herring, West Sea: + 8 %
Herring, Central Sea: + 8 %
Herring, Gulf of Riga: - 11 %
Herring, Bothnia, Gulf of Bothnia: + 17 %
Plaice: + 95 %

Soruce: The Swedish Gouvernment

* The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea/Internationella Havsforskningsrådet